Struggle of the Common Man

March 18, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Cynthia Meru

“God give me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can change and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is the prayer I hold close to my heart and it is with great courage I write this article to all organizations, be they government or foreign.

Kudos, for starting initiatives and programs that aid poverty eradication in Kenya; they are a source of hope and a glimpse of light in many Kenyans’ lives. I have only one burning issue; you start these projects and initiatives, yet you hold the launch of them in five star hotels, surrounded by investors and greedy politicians whose only concern is how the donation will reach his off-shore account and how the initiative will raise more profit for them. These individuals you surround yourself with have no idea what poverty is and they have only seen the word in a dictionary. The invite-only forum will be graced by two to ten people whose stories have been vetted by an established committee, which determines if the stories are sad and catchy enough to make donors weep but dig deeper into their pockets. The chosen few are clothed in mitumba outfits and are fed left over dishes since they can’t tell the difference.

The common mwananchi is suffering because of ignorance and lack of information. The 21st century is considered the Information Era, meaning all over the world information is in surplus. In Kenya the information influx has only widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The media is torn between a profit making business and their watchdog role. My question is who will save the common mwananchi from this silent killer? We have people dying of diseases that could have been avoided. Most media are misusing the social media platforms posting and spreading rumors about celebrities and discussing issues of no importance to anyone who cares to check their website or page. Watching news is like watching comedy shows like the Churchill Show or Churchill Raw because our leaders and politicians, instead of taking matters that affect the day to day welfare of citizens, are busy abusing each other after misappropriations of public funds. The new way of ending a relationship is by issuing your partner with an Affidavit.

I was provoked to write this article when one woman from my area was battered by her husband and almost all her fingers chopped off after a domestic quarrel. “Who should I turn to” was the cry of this woman and many more who suffer in silence ,because reaching out to FIDA is like digging an early grave; you can’t go back to your parent’s house because they depend on your husband for survival. Your husband was the only man who told you that you are beautiful and uplifted you from your poverty stricken home. You are considered an idol among the young women from your village because you won a jackpot marrying a man from Nairobi.

I once attended a forum where the speaker in vigor said, “poverty is a state of mind.” This statement has been reckoned over a zillion times all over the world, but is poverty a state of mind? I decided to analyze this statement, in one hand we have poverty and in the other, one’s state of mind, which comprises of thoughts, ideas, perceptions and how you use all that to create meaning of your surroundings. Who chooses where to be born? Who they are born to? And in what year they are born? The answer to these rhetorical questions is no one; even Adam did not have a say in which garden he was to be placed. So saying that poverty is a state of mind, is telling me that a parent in the nomadic areas, such as Turkana, with a sick child, where hospitals are kilometers away ,decides to do nothing for their dying child because they are poor.

I’m not dismissing your efforts but I urge all organizations whose vision is to End Poverty, to ensure that all stakeholders are present and community participation is encouraged. This will help the common mwananchi to fill part of the initiative and the goal of the initiative achieved at the end of the project. Poverty will only be fully eradicated if information about all issues affecting human life is made available to all citizens.







Cynthia Meru

I believe that everyone has a potential to do great things, all one need is an opportunity. Favourite Quote: “Don’t be afraid of getting wet, if you want to be a swimmer.”


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